Nepal PM: CA Elections Impossible Without Reinstatement of Police Posts

News we are following: Nepal politics

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala on Monday said that elections to the constituent assembly (CA) would not be possible without first reinstating the police posts and VDC secretaries displaced during the decade-long conflict.

Stating that the CA elections couldn’t be held if the Maoists continue to obstruct the reinstatement of VDC secretaries and offices of the security agencies, the PM warned that failure to hold elections would harm the Maoists themselves.

“Should this happen, all the blame will go to the Maoists,” the PM said.

Stressing that the reinstatement of the VDC secretaries and police posts are essential as preparation for the upcoming CA elections, the PM reiterated that an agreement with Maoist chairman Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai in this regards had already been reached.

“The elections to the constituent assembly won’t take place if timely arrangements are not made to reinstate the displaced police posts and VDC offices in every district. If the elections are halted, the Maoists will have to shoulder the entire blame.”

Previously, Maoist spokesperson Krishna Prasad Mahara had challenged the PM’s recent comment that Maoist Chairman Prachanda had agreed to rebuild the displaced police posts and allow for the return of the VDC chairman, stating that no such agreement had been reached.

Stating that the two leaders had reached an accord over establishing police posts in some sensitive areas only, Mahara had said that police were not needed in the villages for the electoral processes including the collection of electoral roll.

Likewise, Mahara also rebuffed the claim about sending the VDC secretaries to the villages.

Before his return to the capital on Monday after five days from his hometown Biratnagar, Koirala expressed his dissatisfaction over the idea of the interim statute rrndering the PM all powerful in the nation.

According to sources, the PM told reporters that handing over more power to the prime minister would make the serving Prime Minister an autocrat, adding that it applied to himself as well.

“No one should be tempted in this manner,” the PM said, adding that such concentration of power would erode democracy.

Mentioning that everyone had accepted his opinion against handing all powers of the state to the Prime Minister, Koirala said that this comment had garnered “positive comments”.

In another context, the PM maintained that there would be no further haggling over the ambassadorial recommendation process.

Stating that the envoy appointment process would begin as soon as he returned to the capital, PM Koirala said that he would not yield to any sort of pressure to change his decision.

“The decision has already been made; there will be no more changes,” the PM said.

He returned to the capital this afternoon.

Nepal in 2006: From Gyanendra to Girija

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In January 2006, King Gyanendra was both head of state and head of government. The democrats were pushed to a corner and were struggling for their existence. One year down the line, now, the one who led the fight against king Gyanendra’s rule, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala exercises both. And, surprisingly, King Gyanendra, back in the royal palace, is silently fighting for his existence.

Just a year ago, the palace was the center of power and the political parties were engaged in chalking out strategies to bring power back to Singha Durbar and cut the monarchy to size. The royal palace officials were running out of time in scheduling the king’s visits to different parts of the country. The king was seen, in military fatigues, walking through streets in various districts and receiving flowers from the people during those visits, thus trying to consolidate his power.

Just a couple of days before the king’s visit to eastern Nepal in 2006, Kathmandu valley had witnessed bus-loads of people chanting slogans on the occasion of Crown Prince Paras’ 35th birthday. The king’s government had announced national holiday for the day. One year after, not only the crown prince’s but also the king and queen’s birthdays passed largely unnoticed. The democratic government scrapped the provision of national holidays on royal birthdays.

Now, power has been remarkably transferred to Singha Durbar. The political parties and civil society members are still engaged in a hot debate. Surprisingly, the debate is not to bring the monarchy to size but to completely eliminate the institution.

The April movement, intensified by seven political parties, following a 12-point agreement, signed with CPN-Maoists (then state-declared terrorists), ended not only the over-a-year direct rule of the king, but also stripped the monarch of all power.

The House of Representatives, through a proclamation on May 18, stripped the king off all powers and privileges he enjoyed. To further accelerate peoples’ expectations and discourage regressive forces, the democratic government formed a high-level probe commission under the chairmanship of Krishna Jung Rayamajhi, former Supreme Court justice to investigate the April atrocities.

However, the government is yet to implement the report submitted by the Rayamajhi Commission. Similarly, the democratic government has formulated, the soon to be introduced, new constitution. The interim constitution has further cut off the king’s ceremonial authority. And the political situation is back in stable gear.

On the economic front, 2006 saw a whopping erosion in the credibility of the private sector. The unconditional support extended by apex bodies of the private sector to the totalitarian regime badly exposed its undemocratic attitude.

The private sector, not only half-heartily welcomed the successful April uprising, but it became the first institution to call for a banda in the post April revolution period. In addition, its backing for willful bank defaulters was enough for common people to realize how some leaders of the private sector aimed to become wealthy. The government’s decision in December to seize passports of the defaulters will be remembered as a major landmark in Nepal’s economic reform history.

The year ahead is going to be far more momentous as the country is going to see the CA polls scheduled for mid-June, which will decide the fate of the 238-year-old monarchy. And, this is the year when the achievements of the April movement will be institutionalized in a complete sense.

2006 in retrospect

January 2: Maoists break 4-month old unilateral truce : Multiple blasts in capital, Thankot, Dadhikot post attacked, 12 cops killed

January 16: Royal government bans demonstration inside ring road ahead of SPA called showdown on January 20, curfew clamped in several districts

January 21: Famous singer Tara Devi passes away

February 8: Government holds controversial municipal polls; SPA and most other parties boycott

February 18: Nepali U-19 cricket team wins Plate Championship of ICC U-19 World Cup beating New Zealand in the final in Colombo.

March 1: 12 security men, 18 rebels killed Palpa attack

March 20: 13 soldiers and 1 rebel killed in Kavre clash

March 21: At least 24 Maoists, 10 security men and a civilian killed in Maoist attack at Birtamod, Dhading and Dharan

March 21: CPN-UML general secretary detained at Nagarkot and slapped 90-day detention

March 31: Nepal-India transit treaty renewed

April 2: Maoists announce suspension of violence in Kathmandu valley ahead of SPA protests

April 6: Maoists raid Malangawa, district headquarters of Sarlahi, 13 killed, NA chopper ‘gunned down’; another raid in Butwal.

April 6-24: Popular Janaandolan-II with SPA general strikes and Maoist blockades; clashes between police and protestors and mass defiance of curfews, king’s offer to appoint SPA Prime Minister rejected (21 April); King capitulates power and reinstates parliament on April 24.

April 26: Girija Prasad Koirala takes oath as new Prime Minister; Maoists announce three-month long unilateral ceasefire; Nepali U-14 football team declared best team of AFC U-14 Festival of Football held in Islamabad after finishing unbeaten in the event.

April 28: HoR convened after nearly 4 years, registers CA poll motion

May 2: Seven-member cabinet formed

May 3: Government declares indefinite ceasefire, annuls controversial municipal poll

May 9: Three-wheeler accident in Jhumka of Sunsari district claims 13 kids

May 18: Parliamentary proclamation asserts sovereignty and curtails all powers of king; decides to change in nomenclature of His Majesty’s Government to “Nepal Government” and Royal

Nepal Army to “Nepali Army” henceforth.

May 26: Maoists and government agree on 25-point code of conduct

June 6: PM goes on 4-day India visit and returns with Rs 15 billion package

June 8: Nepali U-15 cricket team wins the ACC U-15 Cup Two-day Cricket Tournament (Elite Group) held in Malaysia.

June 16: The first public appearance of Maoist chairman Prachanda in Kathmandu at meeting with SPA leaders to sign 8-point agreement

July 2: Government unilaterally writes to UN secretary general Kofi Annan proposing decommissioning of Maoist arms.

July 12: Government announces $ 2 billion budget for fiscal year 2006-2007; Royal palace budget cut down by 70 pc

July 24: Maoists write separately to UN protesting reference to ‘decommissioning’; serious loss of trust between government and Maoists

July 27-3 August: UN assessment mission visits Nepal

July 28: Maoists extend ceasefire by three months.

July 13: Landslide sweeps away a village at Nepane VDC-5, Kaski district, leaving dozens of people dead

July 23: At least 23 killed and 31 others injured in a bus accident at Chanaute area of Sindhupalchowk district

July 31: Dr Sanduk Ruit of Tilganga Eye Hospital announced one of the winners of 2006 Ramon Magsaysay Award

August 9: Government and Maoists send identical 5-point letters to UN.

August 25: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appoints Ian Martin as his personal representative to assist the peace process in Nepal

August 26: Chhaya Devi, 86, an icon of Janaandolan II, passes away.

August: Nepal wins nine gold medals in the 10th South Asian Games held in Colombo.

September 23: A 9N-AHJ helicopter hired by WWF, Nepal, crashes in Ghunsa area of remote Taplejung district, leaving all 24 on board including government minister and senior conservationists dead.

September 23: Sitting MP Krishna Charan Shrestha shot dead by cadres of Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha, a splinter of Maoists in Siraha district

September 28: HoR passes Army Act increasing democratic control

October 28: 42 killed in Salyan bus plunge

October 29: Maoists extend ceasefire by another three months

October 31: Indian ambassador Shiv Shanker Mukherjee holds first meeting with Maoist leaders; government announces it will take SLC exam from only grade X syllabus.

November 8: Peace talks culminate in historic agreement, resolves some disputes over arms management and interim constitution

November 17: Metropolitan Police launched in Kathmandu valley

November 20: High Level Probe Commission headed by Krishna Jung Rayamajhi submits report recommending action against 202 people including King Gyanendra; government forms implementation committee on November 27.

November 21: Government and Maoists sign Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) formally declaring the end of the decade long war.

December 1: UN Security Council welcomes CPA, approves advance deployment of monitors and sends full assessment mission; deadline for formation of interim government missed.

December 16: Interim constitution finalized

December: Nepal wins three bronze medals in the 15th Asian Games held in Doha, Qatar.